Within the Debs clan’s private garden, Alice and Kalan were sitting together and discussing the question of marriage.
“Alice.” Kalan’s face was all smiles. “I’ve already discussed this with my father. Our engagement ceremony will be on June 18th, and our actual wedding ceremony will be on January 1st of the next year. Which is to say, it will be on the Yulan Festival day of next year.”
A hint of a smile appeared on Alice’s face as well.
“Next year, next year will be year 10000 of the Yulan calendar, right? For us to hold our wedding on the Yulan Festival of year 10000 of the Yulan calendar, that’ll be…so, so perfect.” The more she spoke, the happier she felt. Alice, too, began to beam.
Seeing Alice smile so happily, Kalan felt very content.
“Alice, hurry up and discuss this with your father, then prepare the list of guests from your family’s side for me so I can make arrangements as soon as possible.” Kalan urged.
“Okay.” Alice nodded slightly.
Kalan gently stroked Alice’s soft hair, his heart content.
But when he thought about the dire circumstances his clan was in, Kalan’s heart began to grow frantic. Not long after him and Alice started their relationship, the Debs clan suffered a painful blow like they had never suffered before. The Dawson Conglomerate had cut them off!
The current success and glory of the Debs clan was inextricably linked to their relationship with the Dawson Conglomerate.
But then, last December, the Dawson Conglomerate publicly announced the dissolution of their business relationship with the Debs clan. What’s more, they also reached out to every business union and trading clan within Fenlai City and informed them that they were looking for someone to replace the Debs clan in their previous position.
The Dawson Conglomerate’s actions weren’t just limited to that. The Dawson Conglomerate even began to suppress the business activities of the Debs clan, causing every single business operated by the Debs clan to suffer losses.
“Why is the Dawson Conglomerate suppressing my clan like this? The Debs clan hasn’t offended the Dawson Conglomerate.” Kalan felt extremely vexed. As the next heir and successor to the clan, Kalan naturally cared greatly about this affair.
And because these issues occurred soon after Kalan and Alice started their relationship, there were quite a few clan members who now believed that Alice was the bearer of disastrously bad luck.
Otherwise, why would the Dawson Conglomerate, whom they had worked alongside with for so many years, suddenly turn on them?
Fortunately, over all these years, the Debs clan had managed to accumulate massive wealth. Although their losses were great, the foundation of the Debs clan was still intact. But the leader of the Debs clan was aware that, due to unclear reasons, the Dawson Conglomerate was now suppressing their businesses. This was causing the Debs clan to have lost all hope in the ‘business’ side of their activities.
After all, no one was willing to offend the massive behemoth which was the Dawson Conglomerate.
Thus, the only choice the Debs clan had was to embark on a certain other route.
Shaking his head and casting these thoughts aside, Kalan laughed as he looked at Alice. “Alice, I heard that yesterday, the Proulx Gallery began to exhibit an extremely incredible work of art. Supposedly, it’s on the Grandmaster level. Many people have gone there to take a look. Would you like to go with me?”
Alice was feeling bored as well. “Alright.”
Kalan and Alice were riding in a carriage towards the Proulx Gallery.
“This sculpture is supposedly extremely extraordinary. These past few days, I’ve been so busy arranging our engagement and wedding that I haven’t had the chance to take you to check it out.” Kalan was the first to leap off the carriage, and then, in a very gentlemanly fashion, helped Alice out as well.
Side by side, Alice and Kalan walked towards the Proulx Gallery.
“Big brother Kalan, look at all those people!” Alice’s eyes were shining as she pointed.
Deep within the Proulx Gallery, at the hall of the masters, there was a sea of people. But within the hall of the masters, everything was extremely orderly, entering from one door and exiting from another. Every person was only permitted three minutes or so of viewing time.
After three minutes, the people currently in the hall of the masters were forced to leave. If they wanted to view it again….
Fine! Go back and wait in line again!
“What a long line.” Kalan felt somewhat amazed as well. In all these years, he had never seen the Proulx Gallery so packed with people before.
Kalan and Alice both obediently got in line and waited for nearly twenty minutes. Only then was it their group’s turn to go and enter the hall of the masters. In one large group, they were ushered into the hall of the masters. Immediately, all of them headed towards the front.
Curious, Kalan and Alice naturally rushed to the front as well.
But that moment when Alice first spotted the sculpture, she froze as though she had been struck by lightning. Standing there, she stared stupidly at that enormous sculpture. Those five beautifully, immaculately carved female figures, each of them carrying a unique aura of their own.
Others were absorbed in contemplating the meanings hidden within this ‘Awakening From the Dream’.
But when Alice saw this giant sculpture, her mind couldn’t help but begin to replay memories of every single event she had previously experienced with Linley.
The first time, just as she was despairing, Linley had descended like a god from the heavens.
On the balcony, the two of them hiding in the corners and chatting an entire night away.
One scene after another played in her mind. Alice was totally dumbstruck. She really had no idea that this famous Grandmaster-level sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’, had her as the subject.
“Lin….Linley…” Alice’s current emotions were extremely complicated.
She stared at the introductory text on the side.
“The sculptor of this sculpture is named ‘Linley’. This year, he is seventeen years old, a graduate of the Ernst Institute, and a seventeen year old dual-element magus of the seventh rank. In this day and age, he is, without a doubt, the number one genius magus in the entire Yulan continent, and even if we look at the history of the Yulan continent as a whole, he is still the number two genius magus in all of history.”
“But Linley isn’t just a genius magus. In the field of sculpting, he also has made amazing accomplishments. Although only seventeen, this sculpture of his, ‘Awakening From the Dream’….”
Seeing those lines of words, Alice was dumbfounded yet again.
“It’s Linley. It’s Linley.” Alice stared at the placard unbelievingly. “A dual-element magus of the seventh rank? He’s already a magus of the seventh rank? But…but just last year, he was just a magus of the fifth rank.”
Alice had no idea that before they had broken up, Linley had become a magus of the sixth rank. Only…Linley had never been given the chance to let her know.
“Awakening From the Dream. This sculpture is called, ‘Awakening From the Dream’.” Staring at the five female figures in the sculpture, especially that last one with the slight aura of heartlessness, Alice suddenly understood the true reason why Linley had given this sculpture the name, ‘Awakening From the Dream.’
“The dreamer…has awakened?” Alice felt that her mind was a total mess.
As the first man she had ever truly cared for, in the bottom of Alice’s heart, there was always a special place reserved for Linley. But when she discovered that Linley had given this sculpture the name, ‘Awakening From the Dream’, she suddenly felt as though something had disappeared from her heart.
That sort of feeling…was very difficult to bear.
Alice suddenly noticed that by her side, Kalan’s fists were knotted, and an extremely unpleasant look was on his face. His veins were bulging out, and his face was terrifyingly grim. His eyes flashed with dark light as he stared a deathly gaze at this sculpture.
“Big Brother Kalan!” Worried, Alice called to him.
But Kalan paid her no mind.
“Linley, you…you go too far.” Kalan was filled with boundless, fiery rage. In the past, Kalan was rather well-disposed towards Linley. But in the depths of his heart, Kalan somewhat looked down on Linley. As far as Kalan was concerned, no matter how hard Linley worked, he could never be able to match Kalan’s clan.
After all, his clan was hitched to the enormous war machine that was the Dawson Conglomerate.
But in what, just five months?
His Debs clan had been abandoned by the Dawson Conglomerate. And Linley? Out of nowhere, he became a seventeen year old dual-element magus of the seventh rank. What’s more, he was acclaimed as the number one genius magus of this age.
Even in the long history of the Yulan continent, there was only one person slightly better than Linley.
“A seventeen year old dual-element magus of the seventh rank, and a sculptor approaching the level of the Grandmasters.” Kalan suddenly felt enormous pressure.
This person was simply too incredible.
But shortly after, Kalan only felt boundless fury.
Because the inspiration for this sculpture was his fiancée!
“Hey, take a look. Isn’t this girl really similar to the woman in this sculpture?” A voice suddenly rang out within the hall of the masters, and instantly, over ten heads turned to stare at Alice. The hall suddenly became a hotbed of commotion and discussion.
Linley’s sculpting abilities were simply too amazing. He had totally captured Alice’s grace and charm in this sculpture.
From their very first glance at Alice, those viewers had the feeling…that the girl in front of them and the female carved into ‘Awakening From the Dream’ were incredibly similar. In fact, they could totally be considered the same person. That unique gaze. That slightly sharp, arched nose.
“Miss, dare I ask what your relationship is with Master Linley?” An old man with a head full of white hair, at least a century old, asked very courteously towards Alice.
In the field of sculpting, Linley had already reached the level of master.
Linley’s skill in sculpting was enough to cause these collectors who had decades or centuries of experience in sculpting to prostrate themselves in admiration. Respectfully addressing him as ‘Master’ was something which came from their hearts. Based on this old man’s century-plus years of experience in appraising stone sculptures, he naturally could tell that the woman carved into the sculpture was most likely a person whom Linley had shared a period of turbulent love.
Alice felt rather awkward, and couldn’t help but turn to look at Kalan.
“Oh, Kalan, you are here as well.” The old man looked at Kalan. Old people naturally being as sly as a fox, the old man naturally could tell that Kalan and Alice’s relationship was not a simple one. “Kalan, who is this young lady?”
Although Kalan felt extremely unhappy, he still modestly bowed and said, “Milord Duke Berner [Ba’na], this is Miss Alice, my fiancée.”
“Fiancée?” Duke Berner cast a meaningful glance at Kalan and Alice, then laughed, asking no more.
Pulling Alice by the hand, as through running for his life, Kalan quickly fled back to the Debs clan’s manor.
The leader of the Debs clan, Kalan’s father, Bernard, stared at his son in disbelief. “What did you just say? The inspiration for that sculpture being exhibited in the Proulx Gallery is Alice?”
Bernard was generally rather doting towards his son.
When his son said he was going to marry Alice, Bernard didn’t object. But just a few days after his son had firmed up his relationship with Alice, the Dawson Conglomerate had suddenly decided to break off relations with the Debs clan for no apparent reason at all. With regards to this affair, Bernard had been constantly begging to meet with the upper level management of the Dawson Conglomerate for a meeting.
Over the past few months, Bernard had been busy dealing with this issue, and was so busy that he hadn’t even had the free time to bother going about to viewing the sculptures at the Proulx Gallery.
“Alice. The inspiration is Alice?” The expression on Bernard’s face immediately grew ugly.
Kalan nodded. “Yes, father. Although Alice and I haven’t yet gotten formally engaged, once we do, Alice will be formally introduced to many of the nobles in the Holy Capital. That sculpture of Linley’s, ‘Awakening From the Dream’, will definitely make us the laughingstock of the city.”
Bernard was silent for a while, and then frowned as he asked Kalan, “How bad is it? Is there anything shameful or degrading about this sculpture?”
“Father, in the past, between Linley and Alice, they had a period of…” Kalan explained in a fuzzy manner. “And this sculpture is about the affairs of Linley and Alice.”
Bernard no longer spoke. He only began to frown severely.
After a while, Bernard said to his son, “Kalan, if I ask you to give up Alice, would you be willing?” Kalan resolutely shook his head. After all, he was only eighteen years old.
Bernard nodded slightly. “Don’t worry about Alice. I will handle this matter. You don’t need to worry about it.”
Kalan nodded, then suddenly he gritted his teeth. Staring at his father, he said, “Father, Linley is definitely unhappy at the fact that Alice and I are together. What’s more, Linley’s potential is too great. I think…that we should perhaps consider if we can figure out a way to kill Linley?”